Lion & the Jewel

a scene from The Lion& the Jewel by Soyinka
The Lion & the Jewel by Soyinka, first performance- 12 December 1966 Photo: Royal Court Theater, London

Lion & the Jewel is the third play by Nobel prize winning Wole Soyinka to appear in London, described in the year of its inaugural staging as enough to establish Nigeria as the most fertile new source of English-speaking drama since Synge’s discovery of the Western Isles. The play exposes the struggle in a small African village between the modern and the traditional, local and Western.

Set in Ilujinle, a Yoruba village in Nigeria, this 1959 play tells a story of sexual rivalry between the progressive, but arrogant teacher, Lakunle, and the aging village chief, Baroka, the symbol of tradition. The object of their attentions is a simple village girl, Sidi – the jewel of the title.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer